i bumped into hisashi on my way back from the porter square cvs (i was picking up a prescription of atenolol, plus some anbesol for my mouth and a bottle of aromatherapy hand washing soup scented with lavender, ylang-ylang, and patchouli). we talked for many minutes outside of the porter exchange (he was just at the gym), filling him in on all the details of our various mutual college friends. hisashi told me he was currently attending tufts medical school. his parents moved back to japan (when i met him in college they were still living in california), so he was spending thanksgiving here in boston. his girlfriend was flying in to visit him though ("she's mexican," he said, meaning she doesn't celebrate thanksgiving either). he goes to the bally gym not because it's close to where he lives (brookline), but because he's been a member since 19 so he can get a special lifelong membership discount. i told him about myself ("yeah, i got a place a few blocks away") and even gave him a business card, the very first person to receive one.

back at home, it was the countdown to the thanksgiving feast at my parents' place in belmont starting at 4pm. when the time came, i loaded up my 12 ramekins of flan on a metal tray and drove to their place. everyone was already there except for my godmother and her party: my parents, my sister, my 2nd aunt, and my aunt lili and uncle matthew. food was already assembled on the table, and i examined each dish, in my head deciding which ones i liked or disliked. we ate before my godmother arrived since it was already 5pm and people were hungry. eventually she showed up, along with her son alex huang, and hsu wen, her friend's daughter, the same people we stayed with while in costa rica, here in town going to school with no place to go for thanksgiving.

thanksgiving is the quintessential food orgy in my family. the only other time we'd have a feast similar in scope would probably be chinese new year, but even chinese new year can't compare to the amount of food we eat on thanksgiving. we have turkey like most everybody else, but we eat it peking duck style, the turkey wrapped in a flat bread ("bing") along with hoisin sauce, cilantro, scallions, and rice noodles. hsu wen, having never experienced an american thanksgiving before, was absolutely frightened at the shear volume of things to eat. this year's turkey was 25 lbs., one of the largest turkeys we've ever cooked.

sweet potato

mango salsa



beef shoulders


lima beans
with shrimps

spring rolls
et al.

red hot
chili peppers

beef tendon

sweet potato
pecan pie


after the main course was over, it was time for dessert, time to unvail the flan i've been creating all week long. i don't want to brag, but i like to think that my flan was the most favored of the evening. people ate it fast and were asking for seconds. after the flan came the sweet potato pecan pie baked by matthew, served with scoops of ice cream. the third dessert was supposed to be a bowl of shi-mi-lou, a sweet broth of small tapioca balls along with taro, but unfortunately it was left outside overnight and had spoiled. so we had slices of tiramisu instead.

once the eating was done, it was time to divide up the spoils. leftovers were split amongst my godmother, my aunt/uncle, and hsu wen. i received no leftovers. my aunt/uncle left with my 2nd aunt, while my godmother hung out with my parents, and i chatted with hsu wen. alex left to go to a friend's house, and my sister left to house/dog sit for somebody. i asked hsu wen about the animals she saw growing up in costa rica. the most exotic included: the time she saw an anteater and grabbed it by the tail (i saw an anteater too!), seeing a caiman swimming in the ocean, and spotting quetzals in monteverde. she had another friend who's actually seen a wild jaguar before, and there used to be tree frogs around her school, even though it was in the city.

it got pretty late, my father gave me a ride back to my place, my godmother (with hsu wen) tagging along, just to check out my house.